Children First recognized as top employer in Sarasota-Manatee area for fifth consecutive year

Head First organization’s CEO attributes honor to ‘fostering a positive and empowering environment’ for staff members

Children First’s staff members gather to celebrate the recognition. Contributed photo

For the fifth consecutive year, Children First has been recognized as a top employer in the Sarasota-Manatee Top Workplaces competition, it  has announced.

The award, which is sponsored by Energage and the Sarasota-Herald Tribune, “recognizes those organizations that demonstrate workplace excellence and are known for recruiting and retaining the best and brightest employees,” a news release explains. “Results are calculated by comparing the survey’s research-based statements, including 15 Culture Drivers that are proven to predict high performance against industry benchmarks,” the release adds.

“This outstanding achievement is a testament to Children First’s commitment to fostering a positive and empowering environment for the dedicated members of our staff,” said Children First CEO Philip Tavill in the release. “Our success is so deeply driven by our mission of strengthening children and families,” he continued. “From education, to administration, to comprehensive and family services, everyone works tirelessly to create a nurturing and inspiring atmosphere for those we serve.”

With more than 1,000 employers participating across three award categories, Children First was one of just 25 organizations to be named a Top Workplace in Sarasota-Manatee, the release points out.

Additionally, Children First achieved second-place honors in the mid-size business category, the release continues “and of special note,” it was recognized with the Values Award “for holding true to its mission in supporting the most vulnerable children and families in our community.”

Children First also has received national recognition through Top Workplaces USA, winning an Industry Award in the Nonprofit category, the release adds. Further, it has been honored for “Culture Excellence” in the areas of Compensation & Benefits, Innovation, Leadership, Professional Development and Work-Life Flexibility, the release notes.

“The Children First mission is to strengthen children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being,” the release explains.

Further, the agency “holds the distinction of being a four-time designated Head Start Program of Excellence,” the release says, and it is ranked in the top 1% out of more than 1,800 Head Starts nationwide.

Children First was founded in 1961, the release notes. It has 15 sites throughout Sarasota County. For more information, call 941-953-3877 or visit